How often do we think our ways are better than God's ways?
This morning, my dog Maple followed me outside as I was taking the garbage out to the bin. And then she started sniffing the garbage bag, and I thought "Maple, why are you sniffing the garbage bin when there's a beautiful lovely garden, when the sun is shining, and you can go and explore the garden and smell all the good things?!"
This made me think of how much this is like us and our relationship with God. I don't know about you, but so often I act as if my ways are better than God's ways. So often I'll do things my way instead of doing things God's way. But when I live like this, I choose a lesser life - when God has SO many good things in store for me.
"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"
- Matthew 7:11 (NIV)
In this scripture, Jesus explains how as humans, in all of our humanness, we want to give good gifts to our children. Now I'm not a parent, and I can't personally understand this - but I'm sure all the parents will agree - you want to give good gifts to your children because you love them!
Now let's think about God who is ALWAYS good. How much more does God want to give good gifts for us, his children?
I remember when I was younger and I used to think that the rules that my parents had were stupid - I used to think they were annoying. I'd say to mum, "why do my friends' parents let them do that? It's not fair!" (Anyone else say that too?!)
But now, as a 24 year old, I can look back on my life and be thankful that my parents put those rules and boundaries in place because they kept me safe.
I think that is so much what it's like with God, In the Bible, God gives us a way of living that is good. God gives us guidelines to navigating everything, from relationships to work to finances - there is so much wisdom in the Bible!
God doesn't give us these guidelines because he's a mean God who wants to restrict and control us. God is a good father who, as our father, knows what's best for us.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
- Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
We see here that God's thoughts and ways are higher than our ways. Doesn't that make so much sense, after all - he is the one who created us! The one who created us knows what is best for who he created.
I know what it's like to be in the middle of a circumstance that feels hard and confusing where you just want to do things your way because you think "this won't hurt me, I know what's best, this feels good so I'm just going to do it anyway."
I've been there and I get it! This can apply to so many areas of our lives but the first thing that springs to my mind is dating.
As Christians, we so often ask the question "how far is too far?"
God calls us to be holy, and live a life that is set apart. That means that our bodies are holy and that we should honour him with our bodies. So when we're dating, we shouldn't' even ask the question "how far is too far?" Instead, we should aim to honour God and the other person in the relationship by obeying God.
As a 19-year-old, I knew that I should save sex for marriage because that's what God says to do but I didn't completely understand why. But I can look back, as a 24-year-old wife, and fully understand why God says "do not have sex before marriage." Because as a married woman, I understand the meaning of sex within marriage. And that sex outside of marriage would cause a lot of hurt and confusion.
God's guidelines and boundaries are there to protect us. God doesn't want to stop us from having fun! God wants us to enjoy the things he has created within the context he created it for.
There are so many other things that we can apply this principle too. The Bible talks a lot about the power of the tongue, saying that it can be used for good or for evil. I think we can all be tempted to join in on gossip and "have a rant" - but we need to stop ourselves, and remind ourselves that God says not to do it for a reason!
The Bible is our guide to living - it is filled with all the wisdom we need to make good decisions in our lives. Not just decisions that seem good by the world's standards but decisions that are God decisions. These are the decisions that honour God and allow us to flourish.
I encourage you to put God first in your life. Putting God first means taking his Word as it is, trusting in him and obeying him. Believing in God requires action - it requires us to obey him and to do what he says we should do.
I know it's not always easy to make these decisions and I know it's not always popular - believe me, I've been there. But God doesn't promise us a challenge-free life. But a life worth living is a life that is lived for God, shining Jesus' light in everything we do so that others would come to know him too.
If this message resonated with you, give it a heart and comment a big YES in the comments section, and share it with a friend so that we can spread the message.